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Lucky tie returns as Wild roll into the All-Star break in style

Three second-period goals the difference as Minnesota takes three of four on homestand

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /

ST. PAUL -- Bruce Boudreau simply wasn't taking any chances.

After starting the final homestand before the All-Star break with a pair of wins, likely thanks to the juice inside his lucky tie, Boudreau went away from it Monday against Florida. 

One heartbreaking loss later, Boudreau's lucky red tie was back around his neck Wednesday night ... and the Wild was back in the win column.

Minnesota scored three times in a dominant and decisive second period in a 4-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings in a game that, frankly, wasn't that close.

For an uber-superstitious person like Boudreau, going without the red tie Monday night was a bold move. But with nine days off coming and no more chances to capture points until February, he was in no mood tempt fate on this night.

Video: Mats Zuccarello gets postgame helmet vs Detroit

"I don't know what I was thinking," Boudreau said with a sheepish smile. "I don't think I'm gonna take this off."

Minnesota enters the break five points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference, having won three of its final four games going into the layoff. While the actual halfway point is in the rearview mirror, the stretch run of the regular season kicks into high gear when the Boston Bruins come to town on Feb. 1.

The Wild begins that run with seven of eight in downtown St. Paul, including games against Chicago, Vancouver, Dallas and Vegas -- all teams directly in front of Minnesota in the standings. 

Video: Bruce Boudreau postgame vs Detroit

"We're all jumbled in there. I know you have to jump more than one team but if you have a good two weeks, it's capable of doing it because a lot of teams are playing each other," Boudreau said. "If it falls the right way, things can work out. I'm the eternal optimist. I never think it's out of reach or anything's out of reach. You just keep going."

Minnesota will head into the break with plenty of positive vibes. 

Disappointing loss to the Panthers aside, the Wild captured six of eight points on the homestand and finished it off in dominating fashion.

Even Detroit's two goals on Wednesday entered the net being deflected by Wild players; the first off the shaft of Joel Eriksson Ek's stick and the second off the toe of Ryan Suter's right skate.

Those gifts were enough to give the Red Wings a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes. 

Video: Locker room postgame vs Detroit

"That's what we were telling Duby, 'Keep your head up, man. Don't get too frustrated.' Those are kind of one-offs," said Wild defenseman Matt Dumba. "One goes off someone's stick and another is just kind of a mess in front of the net. That wasn't on him. He stood tall the rest of the way and we got our act together."

Dubnyk wouldn't allow another one by him over the final 43 minutes, 21 seconds. He made 16 saves in the final two periods. 

The Wild backed up their netminder by providing more than enough offensive support in the opening minutes of the second. 

Video: DET@MIN: Zuccarello swats puck out of air for goal

Mats Zuccarello batted in his own rebound at 1:12 and Jason Zucker followed 67 seconds later by finishing off a 2-on-1 rush by firing top-shelf past Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard. 

"It's nice to get those ones obviously and just kind of get the jump on them, turn things around and just kind of be in the driver's seat the rest of the game," Dumba said. "That was nice how we just bounced back from that."

Video: DET@MIN: Zucker wires home wrist shot on the rush

By the time Eric Staal added an insurance goal 11:39 into the second, Minnesota was outshooting Detroit 15-1 in the frame. 

"I mean, still you always want to extend it even further. I thought that even in the third you could make it five it really put the nail in the coffin but we still played relatively smart game there in the third period," Staal said. "When Duby had to make a couple saves he did. We were just happy to get the two points in the end."

Video: DET@MIN: Staal cleans up rebound in front

Detroit outshot the Wild 11-6 in the final period, with the bulk of that coming in a two-minute 6-on-4 advantage in the final five minutes of regulation. But even then, Minnesota did a nice job of keeping Detroit to the outside and limiting grade-A chances. 

Dubnyk, starting for the first time in eight days, made the saves he needed to and finished with a workman-like 25 saves.

"When you win and you feel like you can win, you don't want to break, but I feel like it's good for confidence and mind to get away from the game a little bit," Zuccarello said. "I think that's OK and hopefully we can come back and ready to go and fight for that playoff spot."


Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 4, Red Wings 2

Video: Staal, Zuccarello lift Wild to 4-2 victory  

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